Our Polish Heritage

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Excuse me, but we might be related! Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing has been available for about ten years. It has become increasingly popular in the past three years with almost 5,000,000 tests sold in 2017 and more than 25,000,000 so far in 2019. My DNA test confirmed I was almost exactly half Polish (Zak/Kreczko) and half Irish (Kelly/McGinnis.) I elected to be matched to, and see the user names of, those with whom I share DNA. Initially, my valid matches were to Irish relatives. Eventually, I started getting matched with other descendants of my great-great-grandfather, Marcin Kreczko.

Articles in The Suffield Observer and the Suffield Historical Society newsletter have introduced topics such as chain migration from Poland and the “Six Degrees of Separation” theory. They have also referred to one enormous Family Tree (2500+ names) of local Polish families. At Suffield on the Green, the Polish Heritage Society displayed a significant subset of that tree, called “Suffield Polonia.” It contains over 500 names, all associated with a single parish in Northeast Poland. Both sets of my great grandparents and 12 other families sent a total of 28 children from that parish to Suffield around 1900.

The software for these family trees shows the relationships among the local Polish Americans through marriage. DNA testing can reveal the bloodlines that originated in Poland several generations ago. I have quite a few nearby relatives who descend from my great-great-grandfather. However, I was recently DNA-matched to two others who are not in the Kreczko line. I don’t know the precise connection, but the three of us have an ancestor with the surname Pacewicz. Someday, I’ll identify our common ancestor.

This discovery piqued my curiosity about how broad and deep the bloodlines of Suffield Polish Americans run. If you are a descendant of a Polish immigrant who came to Suffield in the early 20th century and you have already had your DNA tested, please consider sharing your matches with me. If you have been thinking about getting a DNA test, I can save you some money on a test kit! In either case, please contact me at SuffieldPolAms@gmail.com to discuss this project.

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